Protesters disrupted the morning commute in Hong Kong on Tuesday after an especially violent day in the Chinese city that has been wracked by anti-government protests for more than five months.
Blocking streets and subway stations has been a common tactic of the anti-government protesters, but recent weeks have been marked by clashes with police, escalating vandalism against government and commercial property, and assaults by both protesters and pro-Beijing supporters.
On Monday, a police officer drew his gun during a struggle with protesters, shooting one in the abdomen. In another neighborhood, a person was set on fire after an apparent argument. The Hong Kong hospital authority said both were in critical condition. Video of another incident showed a policeman on a motorcycle riding through a group of protesters in an apparent attempt to disperse them.
Police say those events are being investigated but defend the officers' actions as necessary for their own safety.
Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam pledged to "spare no effort" to halt the protests in comments likely to fuel speculation that harsher legal and police measures were planned.
"I do not want to go into details, but I just want to make it very clear that we will spare no effort in finding ways and means that could end the violence in Hong Kong as soon as possible," Lam told reporters Monday.
Lam also again refused to accept the protesters' demands for political concessions. "These rioters' actions have far exceeded their demands, and they are enemies of the people," she said.
One of their demands is for the government to stop labeling the demonstrators as rioters, which connotes that even peaceful protest is a criminal activity. Their other unmet demands are for democratic changes in Hong Kong's government, criminal charges to be dropped against protesters and for police actions against the protesters to be independently investigated.
Following Lam's comments, confrontations between protesters and police continued into the night, with black-clad demonstrators torching at least one vehicle and blocking an intersection in the Mongkok district that has been the scene of many clashes. A taxi driver was taken away by ambulance with head wounds, although it wasn't immediately clear how he had been injured.
In Washington, the U.S. government said it is watching the situation with "grave concern."
"?We condemn violence on all sides, extend our sympathies to victims of violence regardless of their political inclinations, and call for all parties — police and protestors — to exercise restraint," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
She urged the government to address the underlying concerns behind the protests and the protesters to respond to efforts at dialogue.
In a widely distributed video of the police-involved shooting Monday morning, an officer shoos away a group of protesters out of an intersection, then drew his gun on a protester who approached him. As the two struggle, another protester in black approaches. The offer fires at the second protester, who falls to the ground. The officer appeared to fire again, but police said only one protester was hit.
It was the second police shooting of a protester since the demonstrations began, although police have repeatedly drawn firearms to ward off attacks. Police said they arrested more than 260 people on Monday, raising to 3,560 the number of arrests since the movement erupted in June.
Few details were available about the burning incident in the Ma On Shan neighborhood. Video posted online shows the victim arguing with a group of young people before someone douses him with a liquid and strikes a lighter.
Police fired tear gas and deployed a water cannon in parts of the city and charged onto the campus of Chinese University, where students were protesting. Online video also showed a policeman on a motorcycle riding through a group of protesters in an apparent attempt to disperse them.
The protests initially began over a proposed law that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, where they could face opaque and politically sensitive trials. Activists saw the bill as another sign of an erosion in Hong Kong's autonomy and civic freedoms, which China promised would be maintained for 50 years under a "one nation, two systems" principle when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.
Lam eventually withdrew the extradition bill but has insisted the violence stop before an further political dialogue can take place.
District council elections on Nov. 24 are seen as a measure of public sentiment toward Hong Kong's government. Pro-democracy lawmakers have accused the government of trying to provoke violence to justify canceling or postponing the vote.
The Israeli military says it has killed an Islamic Jihad commander in an airstrike at his Gaza City home.
It's a rare resumption of pinpointed targeting that threatens a new cross-border round of violence with Palestinian militants.
The Islamic Jihad confirmed Abu el-Atta, the commander, was killed.
Little Rock teachers will go on strike for one day this week over an Arkansas panel's decision to strip their collective bargaining power and complaints about state control of the 23,000-student district, union officials said Monday.
The strike that will take place Thursday will be only the second time teachers have walked out of the job in Little Rock history. The Little Rock Education Association's announcement comes after the state Board of Education in October voted to no longer recognize the union when the contract expired Oct. 31.
The union has been calling for the state to give them back their bargaining power. Before the contract ended on Oct. 31, the Little Rock School District had been the only one in Arkansas where a teachers union had collective bargaining power. But union leaders said Thursday's strike was focused more broadly on returning full local control to the district.
Arkansas has run Little Rock's schools since the state board took over the district in January 2015 because of low test scores at several schools. The state board has voted to put the district under a local board that will be elected in November 2020, but with limits on its authority. The strike will occur the day the state panel is expected to vote on establishing the zones for the new local board.
"As educators, we would rather be in the classroom with our students, not on the picket line," Teresa Knapp Gordon, the union's president, at a news conference outside Little Rock Central High School. "However, this community and the passionate, dedicated educators of this district will do what is necessary to protect the futures of our students."
While the union billed it as a one-day strike, Gordon left open the possibility of it stretching beyond Thursday if the panel doesn't return full local control.
"No options are off the table at this point," she said.
The only other teachers strike in the district was in 1987, when Little Rock students missed six days of school before a new two-year contract was approved.
In anticipation of the current strike, school officials have been lining up hundreds of substitute teachers and have said about 200 district and state employees can also work as educators.
The strike follows weeks of demonstrations over the state board's move against the union and its control of Little Rock's schools. The state Board of Education last month backed off a plan to divide control of the school district after critics said it would return Little Rock to a racially segregated system 62 years after nine black students integrated all-white Central High School.
The union, however, says the latest plan still falls far short of full local control since the state would still maintain some authority.
A teachers strike in Little Rock would follow similar actions elsewhere. A strike in Chicago, the nation's third-largest school district, canceled 11 days of classes for more than 300,000 students before a contract deal was reached on Oct. 31. And teachers in several states, including Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky, protested last year at state capitols over wages and other issues.
Those in support of ending the Little Rock union's recognition have said more teachers will be represented by the district setting up a personnel policies committee made up of teachers that would offer advice on salaries and other issues. The state board also voted to reinstate employee protections for teachers in the district that it had waived in December.
Donald Trump Jr.'s appearance Sunday at a university to talk about his new book on liberals and free speech was marked by an argument between him and the audience over why he would not take questions, the Guardian newspaper reported .
Members of the audience of about 450 people at the University of California, Los Angeles, were angry that Trump and his girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, declined to take questions because of time constraints, the Guardian reported. Trump was at UCLA to promote his new book "Triggered: How The Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us."
After initially being greeted with shouts of "USA! USA!" members of the audience eventually turned to louder, openly hostile chants of "Q and A! Q and A!" after they were told he would not take questions.
The Guardian said that Trump told the audience that taking questions from the floor risked creating soundbites that left wing social media posters would abuse and distort.
Guilfoyle told audience members that they were being rude.
Shortly thereafter, she and Trump left the stage.
Outside the lecture hall, several dozen protesters organized by the Los Angeles chapter of Refuse Fascism protested. The Los Angeles Times reports that protesters chanted "UCLA protects fascists" and "humanity first."
Andy Stein, a supporter of President Donald Trump, told the Times that he came to UCLA to listen to Trump Jr. because he sees the son as a "chip off the old block" and admires his "feistiness."
UCLA said in a statement that it was not a university-sponsored event, and allowing someone to speak on campus is not an endorsement of their views.
"The speakers were invited to campus by one of UCLA's more than 1,200 student organizations, all of whom have access to university resources," it said.
Brexit Party chief Nigel Farage changed course Monday, announcing that his party would not challenge Conservative candidates in nearly half of the U.K.'s districts, a tactical move that may make it easier for pro-Brexit forces to prevail in the Dec. 12 election.
Farage said his party will not put forward any candidates in 317 seats that the Conservatives won in the last election so as not to split the pro-Brexit vote. The move should boost the chances that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives win a majority in an early election that Johnson sought to increase his Brexit mandate.
A Conservative majority would likely mean that Johnson's Brexit divorce deal would be passed by Parliament, clearing the way for Britain to leave the European Union at the end of January.
Farage said he was putting country before party by unilaterally forming a "leave alliance" with the Conservatives at the expense of parties seeking to slow or even stop Brexit. Those parties include the opposition Labour Party, the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Nationalist Party.
All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs in the Dec. 12 election, the first December vote in nearly 100 years. Right now the governing Conservatives have 298 seats and Labour has 243.
Farage has been under huge pressure from Brexit supporters not to run candidates in seats where there is a risk of splitting the Brexit vote.
"If we field 600 candidates, there will be a hung Parliament," Farage said, warning that might well lead to another referendum on Britain's EU membership that could cancel Brexit altogether.
"I think this announcement today prevents a second referendum from happening," he said. "And that to me, I think right now, is the single most important thing in our country."
After three years of negotiations and repeated delays, Britain is now scheduled to leave the EU on Jan. 31.
Monday's move represented a substantial change in tactics, for only last week Farage had threatened to run against the Conservatives in every seat in England, Wales and Scotland unless they agreed to team up with his Brexit Party.
Johnson refused the offer, which included a demand that he drop his Brexit divorce deal.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Monday called Farage's decision "a Trump alliance," saying it reflected a desire to please U.S. President Donald Trump, who had pushed publicly for Farage and Johnson to unite in a pro-Brexit front.
"One week ago Donald Trump told Nigel Farage to make a pact with Boris Johnson," Corbyn tweeted. "Today, Trump got his wish."
Corbyn also claimed the "Trump alliance" would allow profit-driven U.S. drug companies to get a foothold in Britain's beloved but financially stressed National Health Service — a constant theme of his campaign.
Over the weekend, several right-wing British newspapers urged Farage to change tack, saying there was a risk that Britain might not leave the EU if the Labour Party comes to power.
On the campaign trail, Johnson told reporters he was "glad that there's a recognition" that only his party can get Brexit done. The prime minister said he had not discussed any election deal with Farage.
Earlier in the campaign, Farage had been strongly critical of Johnson's EU divorce deal — saying it wasn't a real Brexit — but he softened his tone Monday.
Farage said he had been encouraged by recent comments from Johnson that rule out extending the Brexit transition period beyond the end of 2020. He said the plan now is "to take the fight to Labour," which he accused of betraying 5 million of its supporters who had voted to leave the EU in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
"The Conservative Party say they want Brexit, but have been taking that in a very questionable direction. But overnight the prime minister signaled a change of direction," Farage said.
Farage made his announcement in Hartlepool, a former shipbuilding town in northeast England that has voted Labour for more than 50 years, but also voted strongly in 2016 to leave the EU. It is one of the Brexit Party's top election targets.
While the Brexit Party favors a no-deal exit from the EU and the Conservatives back Johnson's Brexit deal, Labour has vowed to renegotiate the EU divorce deal. Then Labour says it will hold a new referendum for British voters to decide whether to leave on those terms or remain in the single market of over half a billion people.
Businessman Richard Tice, the Brexit Party candidate in Hartlepool, denied that the party's decision to halve the number of its candidates was a sign of weakness.
"We have made a unilateral, strategically important decision for the country," he told The Associated Press.
Paul Beaumont, a Brexit Party supporter from the Hartlepool area, praised Farage's decision.
"I thought it was a good solution to the situation we are in," he said. "It allows us to ensure that we don't have a second (Brexit) referendum."